Pregnant? You have less chance of being promoted

It seems that becoming pregnant is holding women back from being promoted in one fifth of workplaces. In a recent survey of 800 managers, it came to light that there is a percentage of bosses who take women less seriously when they return to work after maternity leave.

A similar number went further to say that pregnancy was 'frowned upon' in the first year that women worked for their companies. The results of a survey done by the Young Women's Trust revealed that being pregnant had an impact on whether to promote them or pass them by.

Chief Executive for the Young Women's Trust, Carole Easton stated that levels of discrimination against young mothers is shocking. This applies to both young mothers who are currently in work, and those who are looking for work.

Ms Easton went on to say that young mothers have a huge amount to contribute to workplaces. Many have plans to be financially independent and to support their families. When companies tackle discrimination, it not only benefits the younger mothers, but also the business and the economy. Employers could do more to accommodate them by making flexible and part-time hours available. Young mothers have plenty to offer the workplace and their contributions should be valued more by employers.

Maternity and pregnancy discrimination take place when an employer treats a woman unfairly because she is pregnant or has recently had a baby. As a result, the woman suffers a disadvantage by either being dismissed or declined promotions.

Acas stated that women have several rights under these rules. The period of time from when a woman first becomes pregnant to when she returns to work is known as the 'protected period'. If an employer states that he cannot afford to pay statutory maternity leave or if a woman is dismissed from training opportunities because she is due to take maternity leave, she has been denied her maternity rights.

Antenatal care does not only include medical appointments. This can also include anything that the doctor has recommended such as antenatal classes or parenting classes. An employer simply cannot change the terms and conditions of a pregnant employee's agreement. To do so will place them in breach of contract. Time off for antenatal care must be paid at the normal rate of pay.

The partner or husband of the pregnant woman is also allowed to attend two unpaid antenatal visits, and they should not be penalised for these visits.

No matter what has been agreed previously, maternity leave and statutory maternity pay must start automatically if the employee has stopped work in the four weeks before the baby is due.

The Equality Act states that if either of these take place, a woman has been denied her rights. Included in these rights are the right to a reasonable amount of time off for antenatal care. She should also have her pay protected while she is on maternity leave.

If a woman can prove that she has been treated unfairly and unfavourably, they are within their rights to take the company to either a court or before an employment tribunal. 

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